Pakistan: Hospital that let Christian die pressuring relatives to drop charges against them by ordering their arrest

These Christians are poor and disadvantaged, and are unlikely to get any help from Pakistani authorities, who share the ideology of the people who let Irfan Masih die.

An update on this story. “Hospital in Pakistan Accused of Letting Christian Die Requests Arrest of Relatives, Colleagues,” Morning Star News, June 27, 2017:

LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – Hospital officials are trying to pressure family members of a Christian who died from lack of treatment to drop charges against them by ordering their arrest, sources said.

A court in Pakistan has ordered police to register a case against family members and colleagues of Christian sanitation worker Irfan Masih, who died on June 1 after doctors declined to provide him timely medical care, they said.

Police had initially turned down Civil Hospital Umerkot Medical Superintendent Dr. Jam Kumbhar’s demand to register a First Information Report (FIR) against 16 people, including four family members of Masih, for allegedly “attacking the hospital and obstructing the doctors from performing their duties,” Senior Superintendent of Police Usman Javed Bajwa told Morning Star News by phone from Umerkot District, Sindh Province.

Kumbhar later filed a court request directing police to arrest those named in the FIR, mostly sanitation workers along with Masih’s relatives.

“The police have registered a case under the court’s order, but we have not arrested any of the named persons because we believe that the hospital is making frivolous accusation against these people,” Bajwa said.

He said he would ensure that the victim’s family receives justice.

“The hospital is ostensibly trying to pressure the family to withdraw their case by getting a FIR registered against them, but we hope that the court will admit the police’s investigation report and dismiss the FIR,” he said.

A cousin of Irfan Masih who also works as a sanitary worker, Pervaiz Masih, is among the 16 people named in the case.

“The hospital has levied a false charge against us in order to save themselves,” Pervaiz Masih told Morning Star News. “The doctors were responsible for Irfan’s death, because he would have been alive today had they not refused to treat him immediately. Our outburst against the doctors was natural, but we did not damage or steal anything from the hospital. It is a lie, and even the police know it.”

Senior Superintendent of Police Bajwa said he was present when the accused were protesting against hospital administrators and later blocked a highway.

“Although blocking highways is also a crime, I told my force to let them continue with their protest as they had lost a loved one,” he said. “The hospital administration had also tried to influence us to use force against the protestors when they inadvertently broke some glass at the hospital, but the situation did not call for excessive police action.”

Kumbhar claims in the FIR that Masih was already dead when he was brought to the hospital and that doctors saved other patients’ lives. The FIR alleges that around 150 people attacked the hospital when Masih was pronounced dead, and that the hospital suffered damages to furniture and medical equipment amounting to 500,000 rupees (US$4,725), Bajwa said.

Bajwa said that the medical superintendent’s accusations reeked of mala fide and that he hoped the FIR would be dismissed as contrary to facts.

“Only some glass was broken during the protest at the hospital,” he said. “The medical superintendent has also alleged that the protestors had stolen an empty oxygen cylinder from the hospital, whereas the fact is that the protestors were waving the empty cylinder during the protest to show that it did not contain oxygen that could have saved the man’s life.”…


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